336818722 abffefb434 m Dont toss those phone books just yet.

Missed calls © by carlos.a.martinez

My biweekly gig at Get Rich Slowly took on the pulpy plague of phone-book bundles. What to do with directories you didn’t ask for and won’t use?


read more

My words, elsewhere.

Write what you know, right? Thus my most recent post at Get Rich Slowly was called “Prepare to get sick.”

In it I explained how I stay relatively ready year-round for illness or injury, from having basic foods and OTC meds on hand to figuring out a way to telecommute in case of a longish period of immobility. Specifically, I noted that one reason I could have surgery on really short notice was that I already had most of my ducks in a row.

I also got to work in a reference to the exchanging of body fluids. This pained one reader, who left a comment asking if this were truly necessary. My reply: “Yes.” After all, it was Valentine’s Day when I got sick.


read more

After two full weeks of writing the Frugal Cool site for MSN Money, I’ve learned that a five-times-a-week  deadline can be less intimidating than a once-every-10-days deadline.

I’d been writing a biweekly personal finance column since spring 2009. Initially I thought this would be easier than my previous job at MSN Money, the three-times-a-week Smart Spending blog. It wasn’t.


read more

Two dates for you:

February 7 – The last direct deposit for my day job

March 11 – The earliest I can expect to get paid again

I’m not saying this because I feel sorry for myself. For reasons I’ll detail below, I’m doing fine. I’m bringing it up to remind other freelancers – and fully employed folks – to get creative about meeting your needs.


read more

My biweekly personal finance column at MSN Money has morphed into a daily frugality blog. Since life never happens quite as you wish, the new gig was poised to launch right when I got sick last week.

My mental picture is of the Fates passing a joint and cackling with laughter as they watched me struggle with computer connection woes six or seven hours after what was later determined to be a gall bladder attack.

Eventually everything was resolved and Tuesday was the debut for Frugal Cool. Despite the semi-preachiness of the inaugural headline (“Frugality: The right life choice”), this is not an eat-your-vegetables kind of site.


read more